Social Question

Ron_C's avatar

Do you believe that a person has to be a sociopath to be the CEO of a large company?

Asked by Ron_C (14438points) July 14th, 2010

Defination of a sociopath form the dictionary: a person, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

I submit in order to be able to lay off thousands of people and to create an environment dedicated only to efficiency with little regard for you employees and still sleep at night, you must be a sociopath.

I see the most successful and highest paid CEO’s in this category and one of the reasons many of them support charitable cause is an attempt to ameliorate some of this guilt.

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79 Answers

Otto_King's avatar

They could become one when they are up there, but they definitely couldn’t get up as one.

CMaz's avatar

No, narcissist yes.

Ron_C's avatar

@Otto_King really? Wouldn’t a sociopath easily say or do what is required for advancement? Wouldn’t it be easier because they wouldn’t have any principles to defend and be motivated only by profit?

SmashTheState's avatar


“To reach for power – one already has a flaw in one’s character. There has never been an altruistic politician or corporate head, and there never will be one, because the men who could become such have no desire for power. Their lives are fulfilled without it. And those who seek it are already corrupt.” – Charles de Lint, Svaha

ragingloli's avatar

I would say yes. Step on those below you, suck up to those above you. Just like the protagonist of “Der Untertan”.

ucme's avatar

Well Donald Trump has the look of a crazed kiddy fiddler, whilst Bill Gates from certain angles looks fairly Dahmeresque.So yeah you may have a point.

Ron_C's avatar

@ragingloli Thank you for the quote. Isn’t there one about “some people seek power, others have it thrust upon them?

janbb's avatar

No, not necessarily.

TexasDude's avatar

What the fuck?

My grandfather was the CEO of a large electronics corporation for several years. He’s one of the most genuine, honest, and decent people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, and he ran a strong and profitable business while he was in charge. People really need to stop buying into broad-brushed caricatures of what they expect certain types of people. You do realize that not every CEO is a guy with a top hat and a monocle wiping his ass with hundred dollar bills on the top of a pile of sweating workers, right?

Otto_King's avatar

@Ron_C That’s just a conspiracy theory. Even if it’s true, I wouldn’t say “most of them” I’d say some of them.

Ron_C's avatar

@ucme I had to look up Dahmeresque. I assume that refers to Jeffery Dahmer, is that what you mean? I didn’t think about them being cannibals but you may have a point.

josie's avatar

No. A CEO has a responsibility to stockholders. You may have some of your retirement in those stocks whether you know it or not. If the CEO does not look out for the stockholders, they will simply replace him.

Austinlad's avatar

NO! But he has to be fearless, full of energy and ambition, and bottom-line oriented.

Ron_C's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I didn’t mean to imply that EVERY CEO is a sociopath. You can run a company with care and humanity but when I see huge multinational companies moving to other countries, not because they aren’t making a profit but simply to slightly increase the bottom line while laying off 20,000 people in their home country. How would that person sleep at night if he had a normal psychology and empathy for his fellow humans?

Ron_C's avatar

@Austinlad I would equate fearless with conscientiousless.

SmashTheState's avatar

Every CEO is a sociopath. All of them. Every single one. Likewise any politician above the municipal level. No one is permitted to attain these positions without proving that they can be bought and sold. If your grandfather was a CEO, then your grandfather was a sociopath.

Ron_C's avatar

@SmashTheState I would not be so harsh. There are people that found and build a company as a labor of love. They treat their company and their workers as family. I know because I work at one of those companies.

TexasDude's avatar

@SmashTheState, way to make an educated, logic based generalization there buddy. Glad to see you’ve been doing your homework.

zophu's avatar

Hypercompetition (yeah, I made up the word because “over” isn’t enough) has been a common psychosis since the beginning of the agricultural era. It used to be people had to generally work together in order to find food. Not that there wasn’t competition then, but it couldn’t have been so simplistic or damning.

When we started growing and storing our food instead of hunting and gathering it, we brought upon ourselves the fairly regular occurrence of food shortages; but our constant-migration habits had been lost (our populations were too large) and instead of gathering together and moving to a more bountiful climate, we turned against ourselves (or against neighboring tribes.) Even within immediate families there is competition during famine.

Over time, this ingrained in us a “condemn or starve” mentality that has been expressing itself in the most ruthless of individuals throughout civilization. The highest places of individual power are naturally filled exclusively (or almost-exclusively) with these condemning sociopaths. Because they are the only ones who desire such power. Healthy people want greatness but they want that greatness to be shared. Because that is true power in this world.

I look around and I see cultures where if your virtue isn’t inferiority, it’s condemnation. No one can desire and be functional in places of individual power over these cultures without being insane. But that doesn’t mean every CEO is insane. Just almost all of them, at least a little bit. You have to have some disrespect for humanity if you’re going to devote your energies to maintaining in that kind of environment, let alone working up to it.

edit: not at all qualified to say these things, but so what? this is the internet.

Ron_C's avatar

@SmashTheState The point of the question was more correctly aimed at the large international corporation that strictly depends on the bottom line. Plus I don’t believe in generalizations, I do, however, believe in trends and the trend seems to favor the sociopath.

The bigger and more international the corporation, the less the CEO will care about employees. The most successful will throw thousands under the bus to raise a bottom line a percentage point or two. My point it that this cannot be normal human behavior.

Coloma's avatar

ANYONE can be a sociopath. Read ’ the sociopath next door’.

I’d venture I have run into a few with pretty strong tendancies right here. lol

There are no broad generalizations, other than, yes…not every sociopath is a serial killer, they can be anything, anywhere.

Husbands, fathers, CEO’s, politicians, janitors, school teachers, clergy, fluther members.

It’s not a profession, it is a way of being.

Ron_C's avatar

@Coloma you are right, of course, it must be strange to be born without a conscience. Of course the people that are like that don’t understand the problem and learn to mimic real feelings. It is a shame though.

bob_'s avatar

@SmashTheState So, basically all leaders are sociopaths? You organize people. Are you a sociopath?

Austinlad's avatar

@Ron_C, I’m not equating any quality with any other quality, just listing some of the qualities I think drive someone to become a CEO. I’ve known several quite well and these seem to be common qualities. As to what kind of CEO he or she turns out to be, I’d have to draft another reply.

Coloma's avatar

Some sociopathic types may be drawn to posistions of power, but there are plenty that choose to take out their sadistic side on the dog, the kids, the driver next to them or settle for a life of ‘petty’ crime.

There is also a huge propensity for pathological narcissists that have sociopathic traits as well. Arrogance and a consciousless, sadistic ( low or no empathy for others or ability to connect their behaviors with consequences ) streak.

Bottom line, the world is full of nutcases, is also full of really awesome human beings as well.

I think the balance is better than many are willing to admit to.

BoBo1946's avatar

Truett Cathy, owner of Chick-fil-a, and one of the richest men in the World would not be considered a sociopath nor narcissistic!

I’m sure you have noticed that Chick-fil-a is not open on Sunday!

Cathy a devout Baptist who has taught Sunday School for over 55 years. As an extension of his convictions, all of the company’s locations (whether company-owned or franchised), are closed on Sundays — a rare policy within the food-service industry — to allow its employees to attend church and spend time with their families. [] This is a policy that began when Truett was working 6 days a week, multiple hours. He decided to close on Sundays to relax and recharge, as well as honor God. The policy remains intact today as the restaurants are closed on Sundays.

He is also a philanthropist, having given to numerous charitable causes, many with evangelical ties. Cathy is also closely involved with the sponsorship of the college football bowl game now known as the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but from 1997–2005 known as the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, and prior to that simply the Peach Bowl. On October 28, 2006 he received what would have been the last Ford Taurus sedan ever made had it not been for the Taurus’ reintroduction for 2008. Regardless of the reintroduction of the Taurus line, the vehicle was the last off the assembly line of Ford’s Atlanta plant and symbolizes a 60-year relationship between Truett and the Ford plant. The plant had opened its doors one year after Truett opened the Dwarf Grill and Truett regularly served all three shifts.

Here is a picture of him and his wife.

Aster's avatar

@BoBo1946 Good example. The answer is , of course, no. Just “it helps” to not have a conscience if you’re a CEO. Oh, the pain if you have one!

josie's avatar

@BoBo1946 Actually, he is only pretending to care. His great gift is convincing people that he is devout, or that he finds any virtue in teaching Sunday school. He, like all sociopaths, walks among us in a disguise that only he knows exists. If we could read his mind, we would know the disturbing truth.

BoBo1946's avatar

@josie well, i’ve never been able to look into a man’s soul! Will let a high power do the judging. I’m enough problems with myself!

6rant6's avatar

“Lack of empathy” can be partial, too. Perhaps CEOs are more likely to feel the pain of wealthy persons (like themselves) than the working people. I would suggest the Walton family as the poster people for that anomaly. They may have bought more into the notion that people who have the money have it because they deserve it. That serves as a nice counterweight to a conscience.

I think it’s not uncommon for people to have widely divergent views about such people; their families see them as caring, generous, and altruistic. Others might see them as despotic, revile their nepotism, and see wanting stadiums named after themselves as narcissism run amok. Some of us would object to our employer trying to align us with the owners religion by controlling which days we have off, I suspect.

Pandora's avatar

I’m sure in some cases yes or even like already stated, a narcissists. But if you are running a company you have to learn to push down feelings of empathy for reality. Sometimes you have to lay off to save money so the company survives. If you let your feelings rule your head than you won’t save anything. Once the company starts to bleed you have to cut the section thats bleeding or lose the whole thing. That means everybody, loses. Stock holders invest to make money. Not to break even or go broke. If that was the case, no one would invest. Its a gamble and if a CEO can’t deliver than he just gets fired and a bigger jerk gets the job.
Not all CEOs are jerks. But they didn’t take on such a huge responsibility to fail.
So its simple. Some of the people or all of the people.
Now if your asking about CEO’s who get huge pay increases year after year after cutting down, people, or cutting away safety procedures or making people take cut backs while having to work 3 times as hard. Then I would have to say that those are truly sociopaths and or narcissists.

zophu's avatar

@BoBo1946 hahaha. holy Chick-fil-a. Everyday (except for Sundays!) in my area that place is flooded with minivans and pickup trucks, little Pisces symbols on every other one. Making fried chicken white . . . it is impressive.

Philanthropic contributions to football lead the community to reward him with the honored prize of a Ford truck! My god, this man is a hero.

just saying, someone doesn’t have to be good-intentioned to make people like them. this guy tapped into a culture that looks for people to revere almost as much as they look for people to condemn. good business.

Coloma's avatar

You guy’s are cracking me up.

So now…it’s a debate about how well sociopaths can cover up. haha

Okay..well..all I can tell you is that I don’t have any little boys buried in my basement and am not partial to keeping copious amounts of lime on hand in case the septic system backs up.

I do have a frozen baby Shrew in my freezer, but that’s in the name of biology and saving a rare speciman. lolol

BoBo1946's avatar

@zophu don’t really understand where you coming from…Him and his wife look like nice people to me.

lifeflame's avatar

I’m with @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard.
On an individual level, I know of CEOs that are people with integrity and do care about their workers. In fact, I would say that the average CEO probably has more social skills and are more willing to treat you as a human being when you meet them face to face than some of the middle managers who spend their lives executing rules.

However, you could question the problem of corporations itself; of which the CEO is an emblem of. (The Corporation is a wonderful film that addresses this, and you can watch it on Youtube.) There are huge moral questions about corporations itself.

zophu's avatar

@BoBo1946 Yeah, they probably are. And you make a good point. You don’t have to be a bad guy to be in big business. But you do have to be a part of something bad—and willingly.

Aster's avatar

@BoBo1946 , @zophu means that if the CEO really wanted to “keep Sunday holy” he would not have all those people working on Sundays. It doesn’t mean he isn’t a nice guy; it means he’s a businessman who needed one day per week to offload stuff.
I get it.

BoBo1946's avatar

@zophu i really don’t know how anyone could actually know that! Without knowing him personally, have to think positive things about him. People can be rich and not be bad people.

zophu's avatar

Yeah, I don’t think we’re using the term sociopath medically, here. or even that intelligently. . .

But, there are antisocial tendencies in the monetary system as a whole, and to be a part of the higher levels of that puts a lot of stress on the possibility that you’re sustainably healthy.

zophu's avatar

@BoBo1946 It actually makes sense to be more skeptical of people in power than accepting let alone approving. In this environment, cynical even.

Coloma's avatar

Right…gotta be careful about reverse discriminaton, labeling every wealthy CEO as a sociopath is not any different than labeling everyone that drives an old car as a lazy loser.

dpworkin's avatar

Some high-functioning sociopaths end up doing well – CEO, successful politician, etc. (Think Rod Blagojevich.) Most sociopaths are not so very high functioning, and many very successful people are just ordinarily neurotic, like everyone else.

marinelife's avatar

No, you do not have to be a sociopath to head a large company. In fact, a sociopath would be unlikely to be able to do so.

CEOs can lay off people because they report to a Board of Directors and ultimately to the shareholders of the company.

CEOs need to have vision and be able to lead and inspire the people that work for them.

MaryW's avatar

I believe some of them may be. The best are not. Lots of good answers above.

ETpro's avatar

If it’s a very large multinational corporation and the CEO isn’t a founder or someone who is unassailable in their job, then they have to put quarterly profits above all else. If making a product that kills people that use it is more profitable than not making it, then they have to push ahead and they have to use every tool of Public Relations and junk science disinformation to insist their product is fine. How did big tobacco behave when science began to uncover the carcinogenic nature of their product, and the fact that the nicotine in it is highly addictive? How is big oil and coal behaving now. They in fact are using the same K street law firms, think tanks and PR outfits to push their junk science. THe CEOs are willing to destroy the climate and potentially leave their own kids a world that’s nearly unlivable so long as they get higher quarterly profits.

Any CEO short of an owner who doesn’t play the game that way will be replaced by one who will.

I am a dedicated capitalist, but capitalism has to be regulated. Doing things that harm or kill people has to cost so much it is NEVER profitable. BP has a long history of horribly egregious safety violations. These violations killed numerous employees and wreaked havoc on the environment. But in every case till this last one, the fine was far less than the profits they raked in from ignoring safety. So they kept right on taking risks.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I see the most successful and highest paid CEO’s in this category and one of the reasons many of them support charitable cause is an attempt to ameliorate some of this guilt.

By definition, sociopaths do not experience remorse or guilt.

As CEO they serve the board of directors and the shareholders, not the employees.

This may offend your code ethics and morals but __capitalism demands those priorities of a CEO or CFO.__

Employees are a resource (asset) when business is good, and when business is bad, they are viewed as an expense (liability).
In tough economic times corporations and their officers eliminate liabilities first and sell off assets next in order to keep the corporation afloat.

I think this perspective on hard working employees is repugnant and short sighted.

It serves to widen the gap between the very rich and everyone else.

It hurts the country’s GNP and lowers public moral and confidence.

Public confidence is required before people are willing to spend money and buy products.

People who are employed have great confidence in the future.
They also have the money to buy goods and service.

A CEO does not have to be a sociopath but it helps!

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@BoBo1946 Are you aware that in nearly every thread on nearly any topic you introduce your religious views and explain almost every phenomenon from a strictly Christian perspective?

I have no problems with people of faith introducing it when religion is the topic.

I do object to proselytizing and using fluther as your personal pulpit.

Fluther is not yours or mine. It is not Christian or Jewish or Buddhist or Muslim.
It is not a church, synagogue, temple or mosque

Most of us, I believe like it that way!

Would you please consider that when you post answers or ask questions here?
Thank you.

zophu's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence Maybe it would be best to design all systems of power in such a way that each person is forced to witness directly the effects of their decisions on other people. At least then we could distinguish the sociopaths from the just unethical bastards. I guess that wouldn’t be possible without more mechanical systems of greater administration. I just don’t think humans are psychologically capable of handling positions of great power with the competence that’s required for a society to thrive.

I think @BoBo1946 is fine in the way he/she posts on here. If religion is a big part of how you look at the world, why hide it? Maybe explore more perspectives that aren’t confined by that, but it’s best to be as honest as you can. I don’t see it causing any big problems on Fluther. The disruptive input always seems to be counteracted by sober posts from people like you.

SmashTheState's avatar

I remember reading an interview with the Catholic priest whose diocese includes Wall Street. He wears a suit and has an office which looks like a glass-and-chrome stockbroking firm to make his parishoners feel comfortable. What struck me most was the priest talking about many of his clients coming to him for counselling and talking about a list of vague physical ailments which these brokers and bankers routinely describe, and by which they are baffled, since none of the doctors and specialists they’ve visited have been able to find anything wrong. The priest has to gently explain to them that what they’re feeling is called “guilt.”

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@zophu Your point is well taken. Alternate perspectives do help to balance out the discourse.

We get many diverse and sometimes extreme views on many topics.

I mean @BoBo1946 no disrespect. I asked her to evaluate whether her faith always belongs in the discussion, no matter the topic.

If I quoted the Jewish Talmud on every topic, I feel I would be pushing things too far.
I am not trying to promote or publicize my religion or to totally silence any mention of any other faith.

I do however try to focus on the topic at hand without looking for some way to promote some other topic entirely.

I appreciate @BoBo1946‘s contributions whether I agree with her views or not.
May the L_rd look down upon you and grant you Peace.
(from the Priestly Benediction dating back the the Holy Temple in Jerusalem)

YARNLADY's avatar

You might be interested on how this discussion went last year in this similar question

Cruiser's avatar

No far from it. A CEO has to be a responsible leader capable of making the hard choices of laying off people to enable the company to continue to provide their product and or service for more than no profit at all. The sociopath would preserve the status quo just because and not realize the ship was sinking before he was knee deep in water.

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser I agree laying off people when demand drops is not in the least sociopathic. It is often absolutely required to keep the corporation from going bankrupt. Don’t do it, and all the employees and stock holders lose. I have had to do it in my own business. It broke my heart laying off good people, but it had to be done.

But that’s not the sort of profits-above-all-else type behavior I was talking about above. BP is a perfect example. In the last 3 years, they have gotten 760 egregious, willful safety violations from OSHA in their US operations alone. The egregious, willful violation is the most serious level OSHA hands out. It involves a safety violation that could put human health or life at risk, and that the violator had to knwo was wrong; i.e., there is clear evidence in internal communications showing they were aware they were in violation of the safety regulations and that ignoring that condition might kill workers. That’s sociopathic.

Lest you think all Oil ompanies act like that, BP is the smallest of the big 5 operating in the USA, yet they got 97% of all the egregious, willful violations in that time frame. Exxon-Mobil, the world’s largest corporation, got 1 such violation in the same period. THeir CEO already learned that one serious accident can eat up many decades of profits gained by taking shortcuts on safety.

Big tobacco denying nicotene is addictive, denying that smoking causes cancer, and funding junk science to sew confusion about the truth when their own internal studies showed they knew they were lying is sociopathic. They manufacture a product which, when used according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, kills 350.000 of their American customers every year. THeir reaction was to develop ad campaigns suggesting smoking is good for your health and makes you part of the in crowd. That’s sociopathic..

Big oil funding junk science and phony institutes to sew confusions about the clear science of CO2 being a greenhouse gas and causing global warming is sociopathic.

There is one Right-Wing PR firm. Center for Consumer Freedom that specializes in founding official sounding Scientific Organizations to issue junk science disinformation supporting deadly products. Their advocacy includes:
*—Mothers Againsst Drunk Driving is a terrible group pushing for a “Nanny State”.
*—Our old friend, tobacco is good for you.
*—Mercury in fish is good for you.
*—Payday loans are great, financially sound things.
*—Ne sure to get more trans-fat in your nearly all meat diet.
*—High fructose corn syrup is vital to a healthy diet. Eat all you can get.
*—Get rid of the Center for Disease Control because it spreads lies.
*—Moves to require honest labeling on menus are a terrible thing.
*—Animal rights advocates are crazy and should be ignored.
*—Factory farms are a happy, loving place for animals to live in.
The guys behind that and those who pay them to push these lies are sociopaths.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence your disrespect was duly noted and reported. Under NO circumstances was this an attempt to proselytize my religion. Just pointed out that there are CEO’s that are not bad and ruthless people. It was in the context of answering the question.

Futhermore, will continue to answer the question in the manner that i’ve always done, with respect and dignity given to all people, if they will allow me.

This is not the first time that my religion has been attacked and i’m sure it will not be the last time, in that, someone will tell me about my fairy tales and the sun revolving around the earth. My religion is a part of me. That is who i’m. I’ve never attacked anyone for making despairing remarks about my faith nor have i said negative things about what they believe. I don’t do that.

To my knowledge, don’t think i’ve ever attacked anyone for NOT believing in my entire life. We live in a free country with a Constitution that allow freedom of religion. i respect that. I humbly ask you to do the same, sir!

BoBo1946's avatar

@zophu thank you my friend. We had a very good and productive exchange about our different views on the subject. There was respect from you and i certainly respect you. That is the way it should always be here!

Cruiser's avatar

@ETpro Then I would say your question in itself is misleading and merely a front to just harp bitch and moan about a narrow specific state of mind that IMO does not exist in the least in the vast majority of large corporations. There board of directors within every large corporation stocked with brilliant minds who would not stand for anything less than top notch mental acuity from their CEO’s.

Plus you really need to think of why these corporations exist in the first place and your examples are perfect ones in that “we” want cheap oil and addictive cigarettes so of course there will be companies to provide that product. The operative here is “CHEAP”...raise the price of oil or ciggies ten cents and people rail and complain. So they are almost forced to do whatever they can do to provide their product to meet the consumers demands. If they don’t do it some other company will. The problem I think you refer to, this sociopath characterization again does not exist but what does is this demand for cheapest possible delivery of their product which forces into play extreme control over every aspect of their production abilities including strict measures in the management of their employees. Cruel perhaps but necessary none the less.

6rant6's avatar

@pandora Sounds like you’re writing the Craigslist ad to be titled, “Sociopath needed!”

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@BoBo1946 Please accept my apology. I am sorry that I overreacted to what I incorrectly perceived to be a pattern. I was wrong. You are are person of faith and I respect that. When I review what you said you were just explaining your point of view, which we all have a right to do. I will post this apology on the thread where I criticized you. Is there something else I can do to make amends for my intemperate comment?

BoBo1946's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence thank you so much! It is behind us. Looking forward to conversing with you in the future. Take care my friend!

BoBo1946's avatar

Tinyfairy posted this on another question! Want to meet a CEO that above all things, is a good man!

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser This isn’t my question. The OP was @Ron_C. In my answer, I cited some egregious examples for effect. But most very large, multinational corporations employ CEOs who are certainly bright, but just as certainly ruthless in pursuing the highest possible quarterly profits. If that means moving profit centers to thrid world island nations with no corporate taxes and moving work to countries with virtually no standards for worker safety or pay, that is what they do. If a CEO were to do otherwise because s/he cared too much about the USA to do that, they would be replaced with one who would put profits first.

The problem is not with CEOs, it is with our government moving toward being a corporatocracy that permits such things. Exxon-Mobil is the most profitable corporation on earth and they paid no US taxes last year. My tiny company can’t get away with that. Setting up a game where big multinationals have a vast tax advantage over small business and entrepreneurial start-ups is eventually going to end the middle class in America. It will only be good for the elite owners of multinational corporations.

zophu's avatar


Inside fading towers
Where morals come in code
Bleachbright smiles hide the dark
The truth of lies long told

For every silkleashed collar
A number before name
Nets of worth hang them high
Suspended over shame

From half-off their perches
They deal this-counted rice
Only to the faithful
We who don’t Look-twice

a poem I wrote during my emo phase. this question reminded me of it.

Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro exactly! @zophu well done.

Cruiser's avatar

@ETpro Again blaming the CEO’s is misdirected attention to the real problem. Every company works to make a profit or they are non profits and even then they have to be concerned with costs. For me it is and always has been about the added cost of doing business and that is taxes….ALL the taxes. This year my company’s tax rate is 38% Fed and State taxes. Next year thanks to Gov. Quinn and Pres Obama my taxes are going up another 4% to 42%!!! HS! I now either have to saddle my customers with another price increase to offset this increase that tax hike or find a way to do 20 % more business a month to make up that increase! I would need 2 new employees to even come close to accomplishing that but Oh No!! There goes right out the window the money I could have used to hire the 2 extra people I really could use here to grow my business.

But we have already had this conversation.

Ron_C's avatar

@Cruiser your company must not be well connected. Exxon didn’t pay any taxes which were not offset by subsidies.

In fact, most of us here paid more income tax than Exxon.

Cruiser's avatar

@Ron_C I am going to fire my lobbyist tonight! Do you think donating to the DNC would help?

Ron_C's avatar

@Cruiser I hate the fact that there are paid lobbyists. I suspect that the DNC is just as open to money as the RNC. Frankly, I support candidates, not parties.

Cruiser's avatar

@Ron_C I despise “K” Street and all the grief they cause. I also pick my candidates by platform not party.

Ron_C's avatar

@Cruiser see, we can agree with each other.

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser Twice now I have said it isn’t the CEO’s fault. They have to maximize profits. The real sociopaths are the people who push political parties to come up with fancy catch phrases and mumbo-jumbo about class warfare and transfer of wealth when what they are actually trying to do is turn America into a full-blown corporatocracy—and the politicians that take the money handed out and then support such causes.

You might be surprised to learn (since you seem to ignore my words and just assume I am the default liberal in all things) that I actually would favor the elimination of corporate taxes. As you pointed out, they only get passed on to consumers anyway, and thus they form a regressive tax that hurts the poor but isn’t even noticed by the rich. Our high corporate tax rate (second highest in the world before you factor in additional state taxes) also puts small businesses like yours and mine, and vital entrepreneurial start-ups at a distinct disadvantage competing against off-shore firms from countries with corporate taxes that are low or non-existent. Let’s bring the jobs back here, and find other ways to raise needed revenue. All the big multinational companies that would really contribute revenue pay nearly nothing or nothing at all in US taxes. Those lucky enough to be in the right business sectors even get money from Uncle Sam instead of paying in. But us little guys can’t buy our way into the table where they only allow high rollers.

Cruiser's avatar

@ETpro I didn’t mean to give the impression I was ignoring your words and came back even to acknowledge them especially your points on corp taxes. I never really considered eliminating all corp taxes but I do think and feel that if the government would provide a progressive incentive program for businesses to use that new found money for reinvestment of the innovation of new products and processes, our country would be back on the fast track to job creation. Our country has lost it’s edge on the innovation front as we can’t afford the taxes, insurance and legacy costs that have choked off the availability of dollars needed to fund innovation. R&D and new hires are the first expenses to be eliminated when cost cutting is required to remain profitable. Companies like mine need that extra cash to move forward in their industries but I have watched our profits shrink while our overhead and raw materials soar out of sight.

BoBo1946's avatar

Loll..could i say, it’s a tie!

Ron_C's avatar

@Cruiser It seems to me that if a large corporation was really concerned about taxes, they would engage in behaviors that would reduce them such as re-investing some of the profit into improvements or expansions that could be written off. The could pay bonuses to the rank an file that would stimulate business and increase profits next year. When I was in business, virtually 100% of our profits went into improving the business. Neither I nor my partner declared dividends and went on vacation. We paid more in Workman’s comp. than for income tax. In fact our health insurance costs were more than our taxes. Just think if we had single payer insurance we could have had an extra $400/ employee to put back into the company.

Cruiser's avatar

@Ron_C It is a 2 way street and judging by your comments in the past tense you have tire tracks across you back I am trying to avoid getting on mine. You have to make a profit in order to generate revenue or why do it?? So when that revenue is slowly consumed by your work comp, health insurance AND taxes…like @ETpro said, the consumers pay for it.

Fix the problem by reducing the “tax” burden so more money is available 1) to share with the employees who will spend it and stimulate the economy, 2) R&D new products and services which will force the need to, 3) hire more employees thus reducing the unemployment benefit burden upon the taxpayers who will also finally pay taxes too!.

Who in their right mind would take on running a business unless they can make a profit and keep some of the money themselves and if they do it is a good thing as it will get spread around.

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser Glad we came to some agreement on that. I like your idea of using the corporate tax system to add incentives for domestic innovation and employment. Perhaps taxing off-shore profit centers would be a wise move as well.

@Ron_C The most cost effective way to escape corporate taxes is to just juggle the books so all profit goes to places like the Grand Cayman Islands, where the company has an empty office and a phone with voicemail that’s never checked.

Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro glad you brought that up. There was some legislation a month or two ago that was supposed to limit tax haven by insisting that they be transparent and not secret money dumps. Know anything about that?

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C As far as I know, it never became law. I don’t know how it would ever get through a Greedy Oligarchy Party filibuster in the Senate, especially with Blue Dog Ben Nelson there to play back-up for the opposition when needed.


Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro thanks for the link. I thought the proposed legislation was more recent. I guess, I’ll try lighting a fire under my Rep. He’s a republlican and this is an election year, maybe I can scare him a little.

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